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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Dealing with my boyfriend's best friend.

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Author Topic: Dealing with my boyfriend's best friend.
libertatissacra
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I hate to say it, but my boyfriend's best friend absolutely drives me crazy, and I really don't know how to deal with it without being a total *** and hurting someone's feelings.

Part of the problem is that she has extremely low self-esteem. She's MtF transsexual, and since I have some gender identity issues of my own, I try to be sympathetic...but it reaches a point where it just gets exhausting to be around her, because she's constantly putting herself down, and unless I'm constantly feeding her ego and telling her that she's not fat and ugly and annoying, she accuses me of hating her. Which is funny, because I wouldn't mind being around her at all if she'd just shut up about being fat and ugly and annoying.

Another problem is that she has issues respecting personal space. I have issues with being touched by most people. With the exception of my boyfriend, I'm not comfortable with more than a brief hug or handshake from most other people. And yet my boyfriend's friend seems to think it's perfectly okay to cross those boundaries no matter how many times I tell her it's not okay. She'll randomly grab my butt, stick her hands in the waistband of my pants, grab my breasts, and once was sticking her hands up my dress despite the fact that I was repeatedly telling her to stop and trying to physically move away from her. And I'm sorry, but that is not cool with me.

Yet another issue is that when she comes to hang out with me and my boyfriend, she doesn't just hang out for a few hours, or even a day. She just invites herself to stay at our apartment for two or three nights in a row. And since my boyfriend and I live together, it's damn near impossible for me to get away from her. Now, on the one hand, I try to be understanding of the fact that her parents are totally horrible to her and she hates being at home..but on the other hand, she's 21, she has a job, she could afford to move out, and yet she's taken no steps whatsoever to move out of her parents' house, and just complains constantly about how bad her home situation is every time I mention that maybe she should go home rather than spend another night at our place.

And I just don't know what to do. She's my boyfriend's best and oldest friend, and I know he wants us all to be friends and be able to have a good time hanging out, and I try to respect that...but at the same time, I feel like I'm just trapped into spending massive amounts of time with someone who drives me completely crazy. I've mentioned most of these things to my boyfriend, and he just seems to sort of shrug them off. How can I go about getting my message across without sounding really horrible about it?

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"America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between."
-Oscar Wilde

Posts: 115 | From: San Francisco, CA | Registered: Nov 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
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You say you have mentioned these things to your boyfriend, but have you yet talked to HER about any of them?

For instance, I think the way you expressed your issues here about your boundaries with being touched would be just fine to repeat verbatim to her. In fact, I'd strongly advise you to do so: touching someone the way she has been touching you when it is not wanted or welcomed is NOT okay. I don't know why you're saying you're sorry to be uncomfortable with that: it's not realistic to expect anyone to be okay being grabbed and pawed at. The fact that she has done this WHEN you have told her to stop is sexual harassment and is bordering on assault. (And if your boyfriend shrugs that off, that's not okay, either: one would hope you would have words with your closest friend if they were doing that to someone else close to you.)

I think you can also say to her that it is hard for you to enjoy being around her with the fat and ugly stuff, and you need her to seek out another avenue to express that in rather than doing so to you.

Lastly, you get to draw a line with who you want to spend time with, particularly when it is someone who is grabbing at you. If this isn't something your boyfriend gets, he needs to work on getting it, pronto. Same goes with your shared space: if you pay half the rent, you get to draw a line with perpetual houseguests. Her home situation doesn't excuse this, and you're right, she's way past old enough to take care of herself and improve her own situation on her own dime, in her own space. Not setting limits there isn't actually helpful: it's likely more enabling than anything else, and it's doubly troublesome when that is someone in your space who doesn't respect any of your boundaries.

[ 07-30-2008, 06:33 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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libertatissacra
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Well, I haven't sat her down and listed off all the reasons why I don't like spending time with her like I have here, but I have told her more or less what I've said here when she's in the midst of doing these things.

For example, she'll often ask if she's being annoying, and I'll tell her that she's usually not annoying unless she's fishing for compliments or asking if she's being annoying. When she's getting too touchy feely, I tell her quite clearly to stop, and that it's not okay when she does that. Last time she stayed over for two nights, I insisted that she leave after the second and mentioned that it would probably be good for her to not plan to spend more than one night in a row at our place, because I needed space and I didn't want my roommate to get pissed off at us for having overnight guests too often.

The problem is, none of this seems to hit home. The compliment fishing continues, the grabbiness continues, and this week she asked if she could stay at our place for the whole weekend.

And as for my boyfriend...well, I think he just doesn't realise how not okay the grabbiness is with me, because she does it to him too, and he doesn't really mind, probably because they've been friends for so long and he just has accepted that that's something she does.

I'm just having trouble figuring out a way to deal with this without getting mean, and while still being respectful of their friendship. My boyfriend was friends with her years before he knew me, and no matter how much I don't like spending time with her, I don't really have a right to get in the way of their friendship.

Also, I really do feel sorry for this girl. Her life is pretty crappy right now, and even though she's not doing anything to fix that, it doesn't change the fact that she's incredibly unhappy, and I don't like kicking people when they're down. And maybe being afraid to put my foot down is one of my flaws, but it's something that I find really difficult.

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"America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between."
-Oscar Wilde

Posts: 115 | From: San Francisco, CA | Registered: Nov 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
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Thing is, you DO mind, and once you're part of a couple, you have to try hard not to project your own stuff unto your partner and seek to understand them, as they are. Because I like something doesn't make it reasonable for me to behave as if my partner does, particularly when they make clear they do not and that they feel harrassed.

In the same way that no, you shouldn't get in the way of their friendship, he needs to make room not to force a relationship on you that a) isn't yours and b) really isn't working for you. In other words, there is middle ground to be found here, and it's looking to me like the only one of you who has tried to find that or make any concessions is you. He can still have his friendship without his friend pawing you, living there rent-free or when you don't want her as a roommate, or asking you to see her as much as he wants to. Those limits don't infringe on his relationship with her.

Having sound boundaries and asking someone to respect them isn't kicking a person when they're down. In fact, I'd say acting out of pity is more patronizing than empowering for anyone. And if she hasn't figured out how to live in the world when it comes to things like not grabbing people, and not overextending your welcome, it's not going to be helpful to her to stay in that space, you know?

Seems to me you and your boyfriend need to have another serious talk about this and you need to make clear that HE needs to be supportive and help seek out middle ground and ways to concede things like you have. Once you really have that support, you might feel better able to be more firm with this friend. He also needs to hold up the boundaries you make rather than playing good-cop. Often, too, we will have to adapt some of our other existing relationships to make room for a new one. That might mean a little less time with our friends than we're used to, calling out friends if they're behaving poorly around other people in our lives, taking care of friends a bit less, etc. That's normal stuff.

And if he won't give that support to you, I'm afraid you might have a dead-end there in terms of your relationship with HIM, and it's one I'd suggest giving some serious thought to, as some of these things really are pretty essential for a healthy relationship.

(I just have to say lately, though, that if you get grabbed one more time, I'd encourage you to very clearly and vocally state -- loudly in you need to -- that you will NOT be grabbed and pawed and if it happens again, you will not consider her to be welcome in your home or around you. If you have to do that, I'd also make clear to your boyfriend that you expect him to respect you having to go there, especially given how much you have tried to give this person room and time to... well, learn to be civilized. Again, it is not asking to much to ask grown people to respect typical personal boundaries. This isn't a five-year-old.)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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libertatissacra
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Yeah, I do need to talk more with my boyfriend about this.

See, he has Asperger's Syndrome, so his thought process when it comes to social interactions isn't really the same as most people's. If he doesn't mind something, he tends to either assume that nobody else minds it either, or have a lot of trouble understanding how someone else could be really bothered by it. It's that stereotypical lack of empathy associated with many forms of Autism, but to a lesser degree. (He is capable of being empathetic, but he just has trouble putting himself in someone else's shoes sometimes.)

So, it's really not that he's being intentionally insensitive so much as it's my job to make things that I have an issue with unmistakably clear, which I guess I haven't really done as much as I need to.

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"America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between."
-Oscar Wilde

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Heather
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To my understanding, though, plenty of people with Asperger's work this kind of thing out just fine.

And his Asperger's isn't going to keep him from being supportive of you: even if we, for any reason, don't fully understand why another person needs and is drawing a boundary, that doesn't mean we can't respect and support it.

It also sounds to me like you have already made them clear. I'd say after this one last time making them clear, there really isn't a lot of room to have this be about your lack of clarity. You can only say it's not freaking okay for someone to grab you and surf your couch so many times: it shouldn't take more than one or two for others to hear you and abide by your boundaries.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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libertatissacra
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I'm just saying that in this particular situation, knowing my boyfriend and his individual struggles with comprehending communication, I know that I haven't made myself clear enough to him for fear of offending him by saying bad things about his best friend, and that it's my job to get my point across, and I haven't done that yet. At least not with how much the touchy-feely thing bothers me. We have both already agreed that she's not allowed to stay for more than one night at a time at our place.

It's not that he's not capable of understanding why something like his friend being too grabby with me is bothersome, it's just that I need to give him a little bit deeper of an explaination beyond "I don't like it" for him to fully understand how serious I am about not liking something. And that's something I haven't done yet, and need to do.

Also, a lot of the more intrusive instances of his friend being too touchy with me (like when she was putting her hands under my dress) were not things that he actually witnessed, and I haven't told him about. Which I should.

I love my boyfriend, and overall, we have a really, really good relationship and communicate well, but sometimes I just expect him to pick up on social ques (like when I don't sound that excited about his friend coming over, but don't outright say it's not okay, for example) that he doesn't pick up on. He doesn't pick up on voice intonation or body language like a lot of other people do, so if I don't want something or am uncomfortable with something, I have to explicitely state as such, which is something that I still need to work on being better about.

I'm not trying to use his Asperger's as an excuse for him to ignore genuine problems that he needs to address. I'm just saying that I know I haven't done what I need to do to make him realise that this is indeed a serious issue.

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"America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between."
-Oscar Wilde

Posts: 115 | From: San Francisco, CA | Registered: Nov 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
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Gotcha.

And I agree: if you haven't filled him in on all that has gone on, you need to.

I hope you can get this resolved.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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